In the hunt to find places I can eat at, my next visit was to TGI Fridays, this came to mind as I’ve always loved the food here and me and my husband often go to the one near our local cinema when we go to watch a film. I looked online at their website to see what the menu was like and it was great to see they have a specific allergy / intolerance section. This makes things a lot easier when it comes to the lactose intolerance, however as the citric acid problem isn’t very common it is not yet out there as an intolerance on menus. I have now got an understanding of what this is likely to be in so that makes things a bit easier for me.
I’d spotted they do a dairy free bun for their burgers so a decision was made pretty easily for me, I’ve always loved their burgers!! I’ve now been in two different restaurants and although the service was extremely poor in Westfield, I have to say the Braintree restaurant was great – on both occasions the manager has had to take my order. This is so they can double check the intolerances menu which I understand they need to do to be sure I’m being given the right food. I had the plain burger with dairy free bun and sweet potato fries on both occasions and it was delicious!
I’ve since had a closer look at the menu and there’s plenty more I could try as a main meal. Unfortunately there are only two starters available on the lactose free menu, one being tortilla chips with humus which sounds great but it concerns me that many humus have lemon juice in so this is not something I’m ready to risk yet. The other is chargrilled pork belly which I obviously can’t have, so for me starters are off. Along with the burgers there are also chargrilled chicken breast, sautéed sea bass (if you like fish), a couple of pork rib options (if you can eat pork 🙄), beef short ribs (definitely one I want to try), roasted veg pasta (which sounds great but something I would often do at home), steaks and some burger options. With only one option available on the dessert menu this is very limited and as it is a fresh fruit sundae with citric fruits it’s not something I can have, although it does sound nice. I definitely think it’s worth me trying out some of the other items on this menu 😁.
Do not be fooled by this, it is not – I repeat, it is NOT a chocolate replacement!! I have no idea where they got the idea from that this has a similar taste to chocolate, it doesn’t. OK, the bars aren’t horrible – they taste ok in a different kind of way but there is just no way it can be compared to chocolate!! No, the powder I purchased as a replacement hot chocolate is another story – that is horrible! There is a chance I put too much in, I am not sure but it tasted foul and I won’t be trying it again as a hot chocolate although I will use the powder when I am next baking to see how that comes out.
What I find strange is that I really enjoy these 9 bars which are mostly made of seeds with a layer of carob on top – they are tasty and filling, quite a nice treat but I must admit they don’t quite hit it like a chocolate bar. Marshmallows on the other hand, they are a treat I can’t seem to keep my hands off of – 3 packets in 3 days is a new record.
OK, searching for Rachy friendly treats is perhaps the least of my worries right now. As it turns out this is going to be quite a learning curve and I am going to have to begin to cook the majority of my foods from scratch. I am not saying this is going to be a bad thing, in fact it is a good time to turn my diet around and start that ‘cleaning eating’ malarkey I have been talking about for quite some time.
I think the reality hit when I had a negative reaction to some MacDonalds Fries, having gone in there for ease I was hoping for a plain chicken salad but unfortunately they had run out of all salads. I thought opting for some fries was safe, it turns out I could not be more wrong.
Lesson learnt from this is that I am going to need to plan my meals and snacks in a much better fashion to what I am currently doing, I have had a visit to Holland and Barret with some purchases made but this is not going to be cheap. Instead I think my best option is to search for some homemade recipes – google is my friend.
Today was my first attempt at a dairy free Lasagne. I grabbed a recipe from google and went with it, having never made a white lasagne sauce from scratch before this was actually quite brave for me! OK, I admit it needs some work – the presentation isn’t the best and the white sauce looks non existent now that it has been cooked. The pasta wasn’t as soft as I would like it but these are all things I will work on for my next cook up. I have got to say though, it tasted pretty good!! I am pleased to have another portion in the freezer for another time.
I am not going to lie, this is going to be quite a funny, frustrating search with a lot of learning to come with the cooking from scratch – never been a strong point of mine but hey – we’ve all got to start somewhere!